BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

The Witch Who Came From the Sea (1976) - Blu-ray Review

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The Witch WHo Came From the Sea

5 beersIt begins on a beach.  A woman is laughing.  She’s seeing all the muscles on display; the men hulking out in their shorts on the beach.  Lots of ogling is going on.  And she starts to laugh.  She sees them working out and then she sees them with blood spurting out of fresh wounds; limbs being ripped off;  blood pooling everywhere.  And, damned, if she doesn’t think it is the funniest thing in the world.

Welcome to Molly’s world!

Life isn’t a fair deal.  That’s lesson one, boils and ghouls.  Unfortunately, for actress Millie Perkins, who starred in Monte Hellman’s under-appreciated The Shooting and the sadly ignored Ride in the Whirlwind, life is extremely without regard to her fate as the incredible actress that she is. 

Even here, in director Matt Cimber’s The Witch Who Came From the Sea, she went largely ignored by filmmakers.  Perhaps this 2k restoration from original vault elements by Arrow Video will help spread the word on her abilities as an actress in the genre.  After the beach scene, she later fantasizes about having sex with two men and then castrates them letting their blood squirt all over her naked torso.  She even takes delight in it.  

If you guessed this horror film is about a very disturbed woman who murders men, then you would be correct.  If you also guessed that it would front-load the psychological aspect of its horror, then you would also be correct.  But its influences – here’s looking at you, Brian De Palma (Dressed to Kill) – show up in wild and wacky ways.  Damn, that shower scene transcends the decades.   

Written by Robert Thorm (Death Race 2000), The Witch Who Came From the Sea takes exploitation filmmaking to a brand new level with its reputable handling of one woman’s sick slide into the throes of depression.  The horror film, one of the classic 72 flicks identified as “video nasties” by the BBFC, is a character study as a barmaid named Molly descends into madness.  And her descent starts with the very beginning of the movie, sitting there on the beach. 

After the solid cinematography of Dean Cundey washes us ashore, we see Molly in all her glory.  Basking in the madness brought on by a horrible past.  The madness feels delusional.  We assume it is, at least.  But is she really killing all these men?

Simply put, Perkins is on manic fire throughout the heavy horror on display here.  Her character loves her nephews as much as she does killing men.  And Perkins sells it well.  She’s a great actress.  Cut from the very fabric and folds of those who actually receive awards for their work.  She just got a raw deal here as many dismissed this title before even watching it.  In fact, the film is stocked with great character actors.  Co-starring Lonny Chapman, Vanessa Brown, Peggy Feury, Jean Pierre Camps, Mark Livingston, Rick Jason, George “Buck” Flower, and Stan Rose, the film’s extended cast makes for a wonderfully frightful good time.  With this release, Arrow's first volume of their American Horror Project arrives with a warning for all who trespass its watery boundaries.

The Witch Who Came From the Sea is a demented delight that looks a million times better than ever before thanks to the fine efforts of Arrow Video.  He’s hoping it casts its spell over you.

The Witch Who Came From the Sea - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime:
83 mins
Director
: Matt Cimber
Writer:
Robert Thom
Cast:
Millie Perkins, Lonny Chapman, Vanessa Brown
Genre
: Drama | Horror
Tagline:
Molly really knows how to cut men down to size!!
Memorable Movie Quote: "I see things in black and white."
Theatrical Distributor:

Official Site: February 1976
Release Date:
November 16, 1976
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
December 5, 2017
Synopsis: Molly (Perkins) experiences violent fantasies in which she ties muscular men up before bloodily dispatching them with a razor. But when a news report announces the shocking double-murder of two football players which strongly echoes one of Molly’s most recent depraved flights of fancy, the fantasy starts to bleed into reality – literally.

The Witch Who Came From the Sea - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Arrow
Available on Blu-ray
- December 5, 2017
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: LPCM Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

The Witch Who Came From the Sea is presented with a crisp 1080p that has been cleaned and scanned with a nice 2k scrub of a 35mm print found at UCLA’s film archive.  It has an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and sports a LPCM Mono soundtrack.  Colors, while never bold, are bright and clear.  Shadows are strong and refined, keeping their edges.  Dean Cundey’s camerawork looks all kinds of new again with this transfer.  The print used for the transfer has been cleaned of hundreds of instances of dirt and debris during scanning.  Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, light scratches and other forms of film damage were removed or improved through a combination of digital restoration tools.  The work here looks gorgeous. 

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • The interesting commentary features conversations with Dean Cundey, Millie Perkins and Matt Cimber.  Fans of the movie will dig it.

Special Features:

Complete with an introduction from Stephen Thrower, curator of this new series from Arrow Video, the disc comes loaded.  There is a 23-minute making-of featurette with interviews from Cundey, Cimber, Perkins, and Jeff Goff.  We also get an archival piece, and an interview with Cimber.

  • Introduction (5 min)
  • Tides and Nightmares (23 min)
  • A Maiden's Voyage (37 min)
  • Lost at Sea (4 min)

The Witch Who Came From the Sea - Blu-ray Review

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